Did you know that there are approximately 400 million searches on Google each day by people who are looking for a local product or service? With today’s advanced technology, people are searching on not only their computers, but also on their tablets and smart phones – some of which include a Google Maps app as standard or already built in to their mobile device. This presents a golden opportunity for local businesses when it comes to marketing their company online. Whether you are the owner of a large company or a small business, creating, maintaining, and optimizing a Google Places account is crucial if you want to increase the traffic that is driven to your company’s website. Regardless of the size of your business, you should be thinking locally, since that’s where the majority of your customers or clients will be coming from.
Having a Google Places account for your local business is increasingly becoming an essential ingredient in the recipe for online marketing success. If you want to increase your business’ visibility and online presence, creating a Google Places account is the way to go. Not only is creating an account free, but it is also quite easy to do. But having a Google Places listing in itself is not enough if you want to get recognized on the web. Just like you want to optimize your company’s website with on-page optimization techniques, you’re also going to want to make your Google Places account SEO-friendly to get listed near the top on the Search Engine Page Results (SERPs). So if you already have a Google Places account for your company, but want to learn more about optimizing it for greater success, check out the following five Google Places optimization tips.
Tips for Optimizing Your Google Places Account:
Tip#1: Complete Your Google Places Profile to its Entirety
This means that even if you consider some of the questions or fields irrelevant or unimportant, you should still fill them out. Why you ask? Ensuring your profile is both complete and accurate helps users who are conducting local searches find you! Some of the standard information that you shouldn’t skip over includes you company name, the address of your company, a phone number and email address whereby people can contact you, and of course, your company’s website URL. If you want to further optimize your Google Places listing, go the extra mile and include additional information such as photos, videos, your company’s business hours, coupons or special offers, and most importantly, the category under which your business falls (i.e. Online Marketing Agency, Attorney, Counselor, etc.). You will also have the opportunity to write a custom description (in 200 characters or less) about your business. When doing this, try to inject some keywords (to be discussed further in Tip #3) into your description as well as the location of your business so that people are better able to find you. Don’t underestimate the power of taking the time to ensure your Google Places profile is both complete and accurate. Doing so will ensure that your local searches and thus the traffic driven to your website are better targeted and more relevant.
Tip #2: Verify Your Google Places Listing
Just because you’ve listed your business in Google Places, it doesn’t mean it ends there. You have to verify, or “claim” your listing if you want people to be able to find you! To do this, Google either calls the phone number you’ve entered to verify that you are who you say you are, or mails out a postcard with a PIN number on it. Whether you claim your listing online or over the phone, both require you to enter a PIN number (provided by Google) to ensure that your business and the address you provided are legitimate. So don’t skip this step – it’s an important one!
Tip #3: The Importance of Keywords
Just like traditional SEO techniques, the proper and strategic insertion of keywords in your Google Places profile description is fundamental if you want to optimize your listing. As previously mentioned, you only have 200 characters to work with in the “description” part of your Google Places profile, so use them wisely. While it is important to insert keywords throughout your description, avoid keyword-stuffing or other methods that will make you look like a spammer and ultimately get your listing banned from Google Places. Instead, write creatively and descriptively while making use of your targeted keywords only where it makes sense to. Remember, you are writing for people first and search engines second.
Tip #4: Highlight Your Specialties
What this means is that you should include information (perhaps in the “description” section of your Google Places listing) about special products or services your company offers, or ways that you differ from your competitors. In the overview of your company, you want to highlight your areas of specialty and draw attention to how your company’s strategies can help your potential clients solve their problems. Don’t be afraid to talk about what makes you different from everyone else, or why your services are superior to those of others in your industry. You want to position yourself as an expert in your field, and what better way to do it than in your Google Places profile?
Tip #5: Include Reviews and Personal Testimonies From Actual Clients
Make use of those personal testimonies and reviews that your previous clients or customers have provided you with. Sharing positive feedback from actual consumers is ideal to showcase your products and/or services, and helps to validate your company’s statements and self-proclaimed company information. So encourage feedback and interaction from your customers! It will provide added weight to your company’s statements and also add a personal flair to your profile, which will help to attract potential customers.
As you can see, having and correctly optimizing a Google Places account for your local business can be a big business generator for companies both small and large. The key is to provide users with accurate and precise information, while adding as many extra (yet relevant) details as possible to make your company’s listing the one that people click on! By following these optimization tips to make your Google Places listing SEO-friendly, your company will be more easily found by the clients you are trying to target, and you will subsequently notice an increase in relevant traffic to your company’s website. If you’d like more information about how to optimize your Google Places listing, please feel free to contact us today for a consultation.